Annan to visit Iran next week on Syria: FM

Annan to visit Iran next week on Syria: FM
# 04 April 2012 18:37 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Iran’s Foreign Minster Ali-Akbar Salehi said Wednesday that UN and Arab League (AL) joint special envoy Kofi Annan will visit Iran next week for talks on Syria, the state IRIB TV’s website reported.

Salehi said that the visit which was initially slated for last week was postponed due to Annan’s tight schedule related to Syria, said the report.

Last Wednesday, Salehi said that Annan would visit Iran the following week. But Annan’s spokesman was later quoted as saying that the former UN chief did not have such a program in his schedule.

There is a way out of the current crisis in Syria, but the Syrian issue should be handled with "patience," Salehi said last week.

"Any hasty move about the Syrian issue and creating power vacancy in Syria could have serious detrimental consequences for the region," he said.

"We are hopeful about Annan’s mission on Syria and we think that the support of Turkey, Arabs and the United Nations to his mission can help settle the Syrian issue," Salehi added.

While the West, the AL and Turkey urge Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down following the alleged bloody crackdown on the opposition, Iran and a number of other countries are against such a move.

As long-time allies in the region, Iran has provided Syria with economic assistance over the past years to counter the international isolation and economic sanctions imposed on the country. The two countries have recently signed a series of agreements on economic cooperation in a bid to help Syria withstand new pressures.